Career Corner: Moving Athletic Skills from the Field to their Career Field

Daniela joined the Office of Career Development in July 2018 as a Graduate Assistant Career Advisor. She strives to connect students with catered opportunities and is especially excited to support students at NSU to achieve their goals.

With a great deal of time you spend on your sport, being a student-athlete helps you gain invaluable experiences and skills through your rigorous commitments. Many of the traits that you build upon are the same attributes that employers are looking for when hiring for an open position. Here are some tips and traits to better showcase what you have to offer employers:

Brainstorm all the positive and transferable qualities you’ve gained

Think about the transferable skills you carry with you that have made you successful as an athlete, because they can make you just as successful at a company! Each of these skills is a crucial strength you’re bringing to a working environment. Through years of training, collaborating and competing, athletes develop many characteristics that can shape them into future successes. These can include:

  •     Being coachable, willing to learn and accept criticism
  •     Ability to manage time and balance multiple tasks at once
  •     Strong focus and work ethic when making commitments
  •     Working under pressure and making quick decisions

Being in a team with other athletes also teaches you how to be a leader and motivate your fellow members when they need support. In many jobs, employers want to see professionals who, like athletes, thrive in individual and team environments.

Take ownership and use strong action verbs

The key to this step is to recognize the skills you possess and adapt them to a specific situation you faced. When listing your athletic abilities on your resume, you want to make the situation showcase unique skills and accomplishments you made during your experience. This will be very attractive to an employer if marketed correctly.

Some strong verbs to communicate what you’ve done include words like, “achieved,” “oversaw,” “motivated,” “collaborated” and “committed.” Find ways to connect them with the different results you’ve had.

Examples: “Motivate and collaborate with 15 teammates to compete and place in numerous local athletic competitions,orReinforce key time management skills through balancing a schedule of 20 hours per week of practice alongside academia to ensure maximum success.

Get comfortable communicating your athletic abilities

Say you make it to the next interview step, now it’s time to talk up all your relevant skills we’ve discussed! It can help to create a “positive traits to career” chart. Ask yourself these questions:

  •     What personal qualities have helped you become a great athlete?
  •     What qualities and skills have you learned in your sport will help in your job search?
  •     Do you have any examples of you using these skills?

From here, connect the dots to see how a trait like “time management” relates to applying for a pharmacist position. You’ll want to show an example and relate it back to the job.

For example, using competitive spirit as a skill: “As an athlete, I’m someone who thrives in a competitive environment. In fact, I find that I’m best motivated by being challenged and trying to meet a goal. Throughout my time as a baseball player on NSU’s team, I have consistently pushed myself to achieve new personal bests. I thrived with my coach’s feedback and sought opportunities to grow and improve.”

While sports may not be traditionally considered a topic managers expect to hear about, there are ways to make them marketable and exciting to listen to. In fact, athletes tend to have characteristics that many, if not all, employers look for in a new hire. Using these steps, you can stand out amongst the crowd and appear more marketable to employers.

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